Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Housing the homeless saves money

Two housing projects are saving taxpayers in Seattle about $3.2 million a year by directly addressing their residents' struggles with alcoholism, mental health problems and other issues.

Preliminary studies indicate that the projects are dramatically reducing visits to the public hospital, sobering center and jail.

At one project, residents' visits to the sobering center plummeted from 5,549 to 222, trips to the hospital decreased by one-third, and days spent in jail were cut nearly in half. At the other project, days of short-term nursing and recuperative care dropped from 1,107 to zero over 12 months and hospital visits fell by three-quarters.

Overall, the success of the Housing First programs is "even greater than some of us expected," said Adrienne Quinn, the city's director of housing.

Read the Seattle Post-Intelligencer article here.


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